Minister for Energy K.J. George on Monday, February 5, said the department has identified over 800 power substations in the State close to which government lands were available to set up solar power plants under KUSUM-C Feeder Solarisation Scheme.
The government would provide revenue lands free of cost to the Energy Department, which in turn hands them over to successful bidders on lease rental of ₹25,000 per acre to set up solar power plants. The energy so produced would be fed to the local grid while the lease rental would be provided to local gram panchayats for developmental works, Mr. George said in an interactive meeting with people’s representatives of Dakshina Kannada district here.
Mr. George said the government was also keen on pushing the rooftop solar energy scheme and was awaiting the Central government’s support before proceeding further. As of now, the State government is providing a 40% subsidy for rooftop plants.
For the standalone solar irrigation pump sets, the government intends to provide 80% subsidy, including the cost of the pump set to reduce farmers’ dependence on the conventional energy, the Minister added.
Responding to a suggestion by B.M. Farooq, MLC, to provide sufficient compensation to owners of lands on which power lines were drawn, Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Ltd., Managing Director Pankaj Kumar Pandey said the department was working in that direction and orders would be issued shortly. Mr. Farooq said because of the meagre compensation, many landowners were unwilling to allow the drawing of power lines on their lands.
To address the migration of linesmen to their native places in North Karnataka after five years of their initial service under Mangalore Electricity Supply Company, Mr. George directed the MESCOM Managing Director to arrange training for local unemployed youth. The issue was raised by Ashok Kuamr Rai, Puttur MLA, who said legislators were prepared to facilitate the training if MESCOM provided the paraphernalia. Mr. George said the selection tests for 3,000 linesmen to be held soon would be organised simultaneously across the State. Thus, the aspirants cannot attend selection tests in more than one location, he said.